Overlap between Mental Representations of Self and Brand

Rebecca K. Trump, Merrie Brucks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


People's mental representations of self overlap with those of significant others and in-groups. We extend this finding to show that people's mental representations of self also overlap with inanimate, seemingly impersonal, marketplace entities: consumer brands. Our study follows the "including others in the self" paradigm set forth by Aron and colleagues. We use response times to find that characteristics on which the self and a loved brand are similar are relatively more accessible than dissimilar characteristics, indicating self-brand overlap. These findings suggest that self-other overlap extends beyond individuals and in-groups. Psychological implications of the inclusion of brands in the self are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)454-471
Number of pages18
JournalSelf and Identity
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Brand relationships
  • Cognitive overlap
  • Consumer brands
  • Self/Identity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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